Best Shin Guards for Martial Arts

Protecting your legs when sparring is vital if you want to stay mobile and functional, and this is where sparring gear can help out significantly. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why shin guards?”

Well, do me a favour – think about your shins for a second. They’re all bone, right? Now, imagine trying to spar or even just walk with a broken shin bone. If that thought made you cringe, it means you’ll actually be careful in sparring.  The use of shin guards is, admittedly, not perfect. You do sometimes get hurt, but the guards do at least reduce the possibility of a fracture. I have a fun story in that regard, which I’ll share as we go.

That being said, let’s just get into it.

Our Best Picks

01: Venum Elite Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Materials: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Sparring and Competition
  • Handmade in Thailand

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Suitable for multiple disciplines
  • Full support for your leg and foot
  • Comfortable
  • Secure fit

Cons:

  • The price point is a bit steep

02: Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Sparring and Competition
  • Handmade in Thailand

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Secure
  • Good shock absorption
  • Extended protection of the leg and foot

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Exposed toes

03: Sanabul Battle-forged Muay Thai, Kickboxing Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sports: Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Karate, Kickboxing
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Leather
  • Suitable for: Competition and Sparring

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Secure fit
  • Full protection of the leg and foot
  • Good shock absorption

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Limited size availability
  • A bit clunky

Best Shin Guards for Taekwondo

01: Venum Elite Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Materials: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Sparring and Competition
  • Handmade in Thailand

The Venum Elite Shin guards are handmade in Thailand with durable synthetic leather and dense foam padding. The guard extends all the way down to the top of the foot, which adds some extra protection to your foot as well as your shin. There are a variety of color schemes available, and the elastic bands on the back provide a level of security and keep the guard from slipping during sparring practiced.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Good shock absorption
  • Suitable for multiple disciplines
  • Full support for your leg and foot
  • Comfortable
  • Secure fit

Cons:

  • The price point is a bit steep

This set of shin guards is very comfortable and is suitable for multiple styles. The price is a bit much but its good quality materials and definitely worth the investment.

For more details or to make a purchase, you can click on the link below:

02: Fairtex Competition Muay Thai Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Sparring and Competition
  • Handmade in Thailand

Fairtex is another brand that has quite a reputation in the martial arts sphere. The durable synthetic leather construction allows for a comfortable and secure fit while the foam padding adds great shock absorption.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Secure
  • Good shock absorption
  • Extended protection of the leg and foot

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Exposed toes

Overall, this is a good product. If you’d like more information or to make a purchase yourself, you can do so by clicking the link below:

03: Sanabul Battle Forged Muay Thai, Kickboxing Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sports: Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Karate, Kickboxing
  • Gear: Shinguard
  • Material: Leather
  • Suitable for: Competition and Sparring

Sanabul is well known as far as martial arts training gear goes, and their battle forged shin guards are great. The leather shell is very durable and flexible, with the foam padding providing great shock absorption. As far as comfort and security goes, its straps wrap around your leg to keep the shin guards securely in place.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Secure fit
  • Full protection of the leg and foot
  • Good shock absorption

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Limited size availability
  • A bit clunky

For more information or to make a purchase, click the link below:

04: Meister EDGE Leather Instep Shin Guard with Gel Padding

Facts:

  • Sport: Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing and Muay Thai
  • Gear: Shinguard
  • Suitable for: Sparring and Competition
  • Material: Leather
  • Weight: 10oz

Meister MMA hits the list with a really strong entry. These shin guards are made of durable cowhide leather and are pretty lightweight. The foam and gel padding give great shock absorption during sparring. I’ve seen these types of shin guards both in training and in competition and they are very effective. The straps keep the guards in place while you’re training, and the rubberized dots on the balls of the feet provide extra traction.

Pros:

  • Suitable for multiple disciplines
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Great shock absorption
  • Secure and comfortable fit

Cons:

  • Your toes are exposed

These are listed as being suitable for MMA as well, but I’ve never seen shin guards used in MMA, so I’m not too sure about that. That said, if you’d like to get more details or make a purchase you can do so by clicking the link below:

05: BeSmart Muay Thai, Kickboxing Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sports: Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Karate, MMA
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Cotton
  • Suitable for: Competition and sparring

First off, I will say that I’m very sceptical about the suitability of these for MMA because I’ve never actually seen shin guards in MMA. That said, if you were to use them in MMA it would be very effective. The EVA foam gives great shock absorption, and the cotton fabric is flexible, which provides comfort to the wearer.

Pros:

  • Suitable for multiple disciplines
  • Comfortable and secure
  • Good shock absorption
  • Durable and Flexible
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Cotton may not be as strong as some other, similar products

With multiple sizes and colors available, it’s easy to find one that works for you. If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

06: Hayabusa T3 Striking Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Karate, Muay Thai/Kickboxing, Taekwondo
  • Gear: Shin Guards
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: competition and sparring

Hayabusa is a brand that I’ve heard about a few times, and while I have no personal experience with them, their stuff is very high-quality. Case in point: the T3 Striking Shin Guards are made of durable synthetic leather with a contoured design that easily fits your leg. The straps on the back are adjustable, and they have integrated silicone beads, creating a non-slip surface. This keeps the guards from shifting while you spar.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Suitable for multiple disciplines
  • Good shock absorption
  • Secure, the guard doesn’t move in sparring

Cons:

  • A high price point

These are a bit pricy, but they’re not terribly expensive, and they’re definitely popular among martial arts practitioners. If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

07: Venum Challenger Standup Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sports: Muay Thai/Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Karate
  • Gear: Shin Guards
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Made in Thailand

The Venum Challenger shin guards are made in Thailand with durable synthetic leather and high-density foam padding for fantastic shock absorption. The Velcro straps are adjustable and can ensure a secure, non-slip fit.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good shock absorption
  • Adjustable

Cons:

  • Possible allergic reactions to some of the materials used in manufacturing[JY1] 
  • The straps are a bit sharp and may cut into your skin

The reviews on these guards are somewhat mixed, but they’re overall positive. From what I can see, these are good quality and hit a more reasonable price point than some of the other products on the market.

If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

08: Sanabul Funk Strike Hook & Loop Strap Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai
  • Gear: Shin Guards
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Competition and Sparring

Sanabul returns to the list with the Funk Strike shin guards. They’re made from durable synthetic leather with a hook and loop system that keeps the guards in place during sparring or in competitions. There are a variety of tie dye patterns, which add a touch of flair to your sparring gear.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Secure fit
  • Good shock absorption

Cons:

  • A common complaint is that only one guard arrives in some orders
  • May not be suitable for extremely heavy work

If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

09: Yokkao Matrix Shin and Knee Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Karate
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Leather
  • Suitable for: competition and sparring
  • Handmade in Thailand

Yokkao is a brand originating in Thailand that has a fantastic reputation for good quality gear. Their equipment is all handmade, usually from leather, which provides both durability and flexibility. These shin guards are no exception. Handmade from cowhide leather, they extend slightly to cover the knee and foot. The triple-layered foam padding provides fantastic shock absorption, and the non-slip interior combined with the velcro straps prevent the guards from slipping during practice.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good shock absorption
  • Secure, comfortable fit

Cons:

  • Price may be higher than some people can afford
  • Doesn’t appear to be adjustable
  • Sizing can be tricky

Overall, this is a fantastic product that fits comfortably and provides some serious protection during training.

If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

10: Venum Kontact EVO Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Karate, MMA
  • Suitable for: sparring and competition
  • Gear: Shin Guard
  • Material: Neoprene

Venum is killing it here! These shin guards are made of neoprene, which makes them very light and flexible. The high-density foam padding along the shin and instep provide some good shock absorption. The underside of the instep and feet have friction dots to allow for greater traction on the mat – which we can all appreciate – and makes them a good option for MMA as well.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Good shock absorption
  • Suitable for multiple disciplines

Cons:

  • Putting these on can be tricky and time-consuming
  • They may move around a bit during sparring
  • May not be suitable for heavy sparring

Overall, these are a good option. Although, I should note that they may not be suited for heavy or full-contact sparring. The padding is thick enough to protect your shin from most impacts but may not hold under an exceptionally heavy blow.

If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

Alternative Options

11: Adidas Taekwondo Shin Protector

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Karate
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Competition and Sparring

Okay, this is a type of guard with which I’m personally familiar. Note, I said, “type of guard,” because I use the same type from a different brand. These are super comfortable to work with and incredibly lightweight. The elastic straps at the top and bottom of the guards help to keep these things in place – most of the time (I’ll get to that in a minute) – and they’re suitable for pretty much everything from bag work to sparring and tournaments.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Good shock absorption

Cons:

  • These can and sometimes do move around a bit while sparring

The biggest issue you’ll have to worry about is the guard being knocked sideways during practice. Remember how I mentioned a story earlier about shin guards moving around? I’ll have to keep this short, but one night, during sparring practice, my sparring partner threw a roundhouse kick and knocked my shin guard sideways. I did the same to him and neither of us really noticed until we threw the same kick at each other at the same time. Our shins connected, and, since the guards had been knocked skew, they didn’t help at all. A few funny hops and badly bruised, aching shins later, we left the Dojo laughing. I wish I could say that it’s only happened once, but I can’t. Thankfully, I can fix the guard before any injury occurs. With all that in mind, this is a great option for beginners and veterans alike.

If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

12: Hayabusa Tokushu Low Profile Shin Guards

Facts:

  • Sport: Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Karate
  • Gear: Shin Guards
  • Material: Synthetic Leather
  • Suitable for: Sparring and competition

Hayabusa’s Tokushu shin guards are fantastic. The synthetic leather and microfiber combination shell over a neoprene sleeve is very lightweight and durable. They’re easy to put on, and they fit comfortably. The velcro straps on the back provide extra security and prevent the guards from shifting while you train. The foam padding provides ample shock absorption and covers the shin and top of the foot very well.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Good Shock Absorption
  • Doesn’t move around while you train

Cons:

  • Hard to remove
  • Don’t appear to be adjustable

Not a bad budget option, if you ask me. If you’d like more information or to make a purchase, you can do so by clicking on the link below:

FAQs

Question: Are Shin Guards used in MMA?

Answer: I’ve never seen shin guards used in MMA. With that said, however, I should point out that I haven’t really seen a whole lot of MMA. I think it would depend on the training center in question. Different schools will have different requirements, but I think that, at a bare minimum, they’re used in training.

Question: Why do you Need Shin Guards for Martial Arts or Combat Sports?

Answer: For starters, it hurts like crazy if your shin slams into your opponent’s shin during sparring – trust me, I know. There’s also a significant risk of having your shin broken during training (though, this depends on the style and circumstances of the accident).

Question: How do you Choose the Best Shin Guards for Martial Arts or Combat Sports?

Answer: The best way to choose any type of gear is to look at what you need and set a price range. For example, are you doing full-contact sparring or light sparring? What size gear do you need? What can you afford to spend? These are all things that can help you choose the best gear for you. You should keep in mind, of course, that more premium materials and products will be more expensive.

Question: What is the Best Shin Guards for Martial Arts or Combat Sports?

Answer: The Venum Elites, Fairtex Competition, and Sanabul Battle Forged shin guards would be my go-to picks.

Question: Do you Need Shin Guards for Heavy Bag Work?

Answer: I can’t say they’re absolutely necessary (unless you’re training in something like Muay Thai), but I think it’s a good idea to have them. The reason being that not everyone has the same reach; some students have to stand closer to the bag than others, and this has the rather unfortunate side-effect that they may end up kicking the bag with their shins instead of their feet. Using shin guards will prevent unnecessary damage or injuries to your shin in the same way that a glove will protect your hand by placing a layer between you and the bag.